If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic facial injury in an accident that was caused by the carelessness, recklessness, or negligence of someone else, contact us today. Our Experienced legal professionals will do what it takes to get you the compensation you deserve, and help you return to living a normal life.
What Is Facial Trauma?
Also referred to as maxillofacial trauma in medical community, facial trauma is any physical injury to the face. This includes soft tissue injuries such as burns, lacerations, bruises, fractures of the facial bones such as nasal or jaw fractures, as well as trauma to the eyes.
Frequently injured facial bones include the nose, the bone that forms the upper jaw (the maxilla), the lower jaw (the mandible), the cheekbone (zygoma) and the forehead. Fractures may also occur in the bones of the palate and the bones around the eye.
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Facial trauma can potentially cause permanent disability, such as blindness or limited jaw mobility. While rarely life-threatening, facial trauma can sometimes be fatal in the event of severe bleeding or interference with the airway. They have the potential to cause visible disfigurement and disability, with long lasting physical, psychological, and emotional consequences.
How Does Facial Trauma Occur?
Facial trauma can occur in a wide variety of ways, such as falls, assaults, sports injuries, and vehicle crashes, animal attacks and industrial work-related injuries. Children and adults are equally at risk for facial trauma.
- Auto Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
Car accidents are the number two cause of facial injuries in the developed world, second only to physical assault. Roughly two thirds of all people that are injured in car accidents experience facial trauma, which occurs when the victim’s face impacts with a part of the vehicle’s interior. Additionally, airbags can cause to a passengers eyes and face when they deploy.
While car accidents may have been the leading cause decades ago, and still are in developing parts of the world, improvements in automobile safety have drastically reduced the number of facial injuries that occur today.
What Are The Symptoms Of Facial Trauma?
Symptoms are specific to the type of injury; for example, fractures may involve pain, swelling, loss of function, or changes in the shape of facial structures.
Fractures of facial bones, like other fractures, may be associated with pain, bruising, and swelling of the surrounding tissues
Nasal fractures may be associated with deformity of the nose, as well as swelling and bruising. Deformity in the face, for example a sunken cheekbone or teeth which do not align properly, suggests the presence of fractures. Asymmetry can suggest facial fractures or damage to nerves. People with mandibular fractures often have pain and difficulty opening their mouths and may have numbness in the lip and chin.
How Is Facial Trauma Diagnosed?
Diagnosing facial trauma is not typically a process of determining whether or not some one has is, but to what degree. Because of the wide array of possible injuries that can be considered facial trauma, such as cuts, burns, and broken bones, there are many possible diagnostic tests that can be used to determine specifics.
Your doctor will likely begin with a standard physical examination, in which he or she will be looking for:
- Bleeding from the nose, eyes, or mouth
- Nasal blockages
- Cuts or damage to the skin
- Bruising around the eyes or widening of the distance between the eyes
- Changes in vision or the movement of the eyes
- Improperly aligned upper and lower teeth
- Abnormal feelings on the cheek
- Irregularities of the face that can be felt by touching
- Movement of the upper jaw when the head is still
X-rays are used to look for any facial fractures, and with the use of contrasting dye, can also be used to locate the source of bleeding. Unfortunately, the complexity of the bones and tissues inside the face can make it very challenging to interpret x-ray images. CT scanning is far better at detecting fractures and examining soft tissues, and is essential in determining whether surgery is necessary. However, this method is also much more expensive, and difficult to obtain as only well equipped hospitals have the machines needed to perform the scan.
How Is Facial Trauma Treated?
In some cases, urgent and immediate care needs to be given to a person that has sustained facial trauma, especially in situations involving sever bleeding, or blocked airways. The primary concern in these scenarios is ensuring that the airway is open and clear,and that the patient can breathe. For these types of injuries professional medical attention should be administered as soon as possible.
For less life threatening injuries, the treatment will depend on the type of facial injury sustained. It may include bandages, stitches for open wounds, ice packs, antibiotics and pain killers, setting of broken bone, and possibly even surgery.
A bandage can be placed over open wounds to keep them clean and to stop bleeding temporarily. Nasal packing can be used to control nose bleeds. Some, lacerations may need sutures in order to stop bleeding, facilitate wound healing, and keep scarring to a minimum. Antibiotics are likely to be prescribed in cases where infection is likely.
Mild nasal fractures require little more than cold packs and pain pills. More severe breaks, with visible deformities or lacerations may need more advanced treatment, like setting the bones back into place, and a course of antibiotic treatment.
The ultimate goal of any treatment method is to repair the face’s natural appearance, and to leave as little apparent trace of the injury as possible. Facial fractures may be mended with metal plates and screws, or may be wired back into place. Bone grafting is another method used to repair the bone’s architecture, to replace missing sections, and to fortify any damaged structural support. The sooner facial injuries are tended to, ideally within hours or days, the better the outcome is in terms of function and appearance.
Los Angles Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic facial injury as a result of someone’s negligence and would like to discuss your legal options with an experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, contact us today for a free consultation. We have offices in Encino, Los Angeles, and every city listed at the bottom of this page. We represent clients in all parts of Southern California.